Botswana is a landlocked country located in Southern Africa bordered by Zambia and Zimbabwe to the northeast, Namibia to the north and west, and South Africa to the south and southeast. Botswana occupies a total area of 581,730 km2 of which up to 2.6 per cent is water; Botswana is semi-arid with less than 1% arable land. The country is bisected by the Tropic of Capricorn with about two-thirds of Botswana lying within the Tropics. It comprises a predominantly flat to gently rolling tableland and is dominated by the Kalahari Desert in the central and southwest which covers approximately 80% of the landmass. The Okavango Delta, the world's largest inland delta, is in the northwest and the Makgadikgadi Pans, a large salt pan lies in the north-central area. Most of the north and central region of the country is part of the Okavango inland drainage basin whilst the easternmost part of the country falls into the Limpopo River catchment. Although Botswana has no mountain ranges to speak of, the landscape is punctuated occasionally by low hills, especially along the southeastern boundary and in the far northwest.


Crystalline basement of the Kaapval-Zimbabwe Craton extends into Botswana and high-grade rocks of Archean age predominate in the east and southeast of the country. The western margin of the Archean is concealed beneath a cover of Karoo rocks and post-Cretaceous Kalahari Group sediments and Proterozoic orogenic belts are also mostly concealed beneath the Karoo Supergroup strata deposited within the Kalahari Basin which underlies much of central Botswana. In the northwest rocks of Meso- and Neoproterozoic age, most probably belonging to the Damara Belt, occur albeit mainly defined on geophysical evidence due to extensive cover sediments. The important Karoo strata of Botswana have been subdivided into 5 units on the basis of detailed mapping in the southwest of the country. More than 20 kimberlites, predominantly of Cretaceous age, are known from Botswana, however, the exceptionally diamondiferous Jwaneng pipe is of Permian age.